Maine is larger than the rest of New England combined, and except for much of Vermont, it was settled much later than the rest of the six-state region. That is, the parts of the state that were ever settled at all. Half of the Pine Tree State has no year-round population at all, for good reason.
The result is that there are paved roads where you can drive for miles and see nary a utility line or a mailbox, much less a house. Often, the only human activity you detect is timbering or mining. Hunting and fishing are a way of life. It wasn’t that far out of Bangor I used to see the bear-hunt guide sign.
Those roads remind me of driving from town and out toward a mountain pass on my way to trails in the high country out West.
Downeast Maine’s open blueberry barrens on the ridges, meanwhile, give me a sensation of the Big Sky Country of Montana or the Horse Heaven Hills of Washington state, except that the blue overhead isn’t the same deep intensity.
I believe that the presence of Indigenous peoples is another part of the mix. Eastport is adjacent to the Passamaquoddy’s Pleasant Point Reservation, as we’re reminded every time we drive to or from our island. They’re one of the four tribes comprising the Wabanaki Alliance in the state.
Yes, there is a kind of frontier feel around here. I’d suggest calling the area the Far East, but that name’s already been taken.
Fact is, many of the old ships that sailed to the Far East were built along these shores rather than those of the Far West.